Synopsis: DREW: THE MAN BEHIND THE POSTER is a feature-length documentary film highlighting the career of poster artist Drew Struzan, whose most popular works include the Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and Star Wars movie posters. Telling the tale through exclusive interviews with George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Michael J. Fox, Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg and many other filmmakers, artists and critics, the journey spans Drew’s early career in commercial and album cover art through his recent retirement as one of the most recognizable and influential movie poster artists of all time.
Three filmmakers have united to bring this film to life; Greg Boas (Hefty Inc.), Charles Ricciardi (Torino Pictures), and Erik P. Sharkey (Sharkey Productions), assembling one of the most intriguing film lineups and crafting a comprehensive presentation about the artist, the art, the stories behind Drew’s most recognizable creations, as well as a never-before-seen insider’s examination of the industry and the profession of motion picture advertising.
DREW STRUZAN – SHORT BIOGRAPHY
Drew Struzan, one of the most prolific and revered film poster designers of the 20th century was born in 1947 in Oregon. At the age of 18, he decided to leave home and pursue his life-long passion for drawing at the Art Center College of Design, migrating to West Los Angeles from Oregon City. As a young child lacking resources, Drew would sketch on toilet paper before rolling it back up, but entering an academic art setting opened a world of possibilities to him. He remained, however, relatively unfamiliar with the art world, and thus returned his counselor’s inquiry about his choice of major with a question of his own, “What are my choices?”
Hailing from a poor background and with no money coming in to pay for his education, Struzan chose the path of an illustrator, viewing it as a much shorter path to a slice of bread than a career as a fine artist. On such a strict budget that he was only able to eat two days a week, the prospect of more immediate returns for his work was too tempting to forego. Drew was often kicked out of class because he was unable to pay tuition, but he would sneak in the back door to make sure that he did not miss any valuable education. He would sell homework pieces to other students for petty cash, but remained in dire financial straights even after his marriage and the birth of his first child.
After six years at Art Center, Drew’s post academic career started with a trip to a hiring agency, which landed him a job at the design company Pacific Eye & Ear. Working under founder Ernie Cefalu, Struzan designed album artwork for a number of esteemed musical artists, including The Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Black Sabbath, and more. During this time, Struzan illustrated Alice Cooper’s Welcome to my Nightmare, which was voted one of the Top 100 cover albums of all time by The Rolling Stone. Though he was in demand because of his acclaimed work, Struzan was still earning little for each
Drew’s Alice Cooper cover caught the eye of Tony Seiniger, who approached Drew about designing the poster for The Blackbird and introduced him to the movie poster-designing scene. Drew’s big break came a few years later through collaboration with artist Charles White III on a Star Wars poster contracted by George Lucas. Following the Star Wars poster, Struzan was commissioned for a slough of posters for blockbuster films including Bladerunner, Back to the Future, The Muppet Movie, Risky Business, Indiana Jones, and The Goonies. The 90s saw the decline of illustrated movie posters as digital technologies became a cheaper and faster medium for design; however, Drew still worked on
some posters, such as those for Hook, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Hellboy. As the industry sought more and more digitally created posters, Drew moved into other areas, designing artwork for Milton Bradley board games, postage stamps, and Franklin Mint collectible plates.
Drew has since moved into retirement, though he continues to illustrate for pleasure. Transitioning away from his life’s work of commissioned pieces, he has begun to create autotelic works. While missed in the film industry, Drew’s stunning “l’art pour l’art” works are received with much the same enthusiasm and wonder as his iconic movie posters.
Michael J. Fox
Guillermo del Toro
Dragon Con Independent Film Festival - USA - 2014
Best Feature Film ()
Ridgewood Guild Film Festival - USA - 2014
Best Documentary ()
Hollywood Film Festival - USA - 2013
Best Documentary Feature